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Why Barack Obama Is Our Greenest President

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Obama, Americans, environment, science, 'Green Movement', conservation, climate-change, government, ethics, congress, republicans, democrats, politics, news )

- 1454 days ago -
Barack ObamaâEUR(TM)s presidency began as conservatives finally felt a religious obligation to call for the drilling of anything that has a crevasse.


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Carrie B (306)
Tuesday March 31, 2015, 1:16 pm

No one has helped make our environment better or worse than Richard Nixon.

His legacy as a conservationist has been largely drowned out by the wanton lawlessness that crumbled his presidency. But it’s undeniable that he helped form the foundation for the American government’s ability to protect our natural resources. He proposed and created the Environmental Protection Agency, then signed the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act, and Endangered Species Act.

Like Dwight Eisenhower, Nixon also vetoed the Clean Water Act, a veto that Congress overrode. So was he a champion for the environment, or just a canny politician who’d pull any dirty trick to win, including trying to save the planet?

The Tricky One entered office at the peak of the power of the middle class. Wages had grown for decades and public advocacy played an unprecedented role in shaping policy. Watching a conservative president act to limit the power of corporations to pollute—and become more popular as he did so—sparked a freakout in the business community that helped lead to a rapid deployment of corporate power and conservative influence to Washington, D.C.

As Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson describe in Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, lobbyists swarmed the nation’s capital like locusts as right-wing organizations such as the Heritage Foundation took shape and pushed the GOP away from moderation.

Nixon’s quick demise helped lead to the quicker rise of Jimmy Carter.

Carter not only put solar panels on the White House roof, but also helped shape and strengthen the environmental policies that Nixon was forced to implement. In return, conservatives and big business doubled down on the effort to reshape the debate and our politics. By the end of the 70s, political spending from business groups to both parties had overwhelmed the financial support that Democrats had relied on from organized labor.

That contributed to the election of Ronald Reagan, a man whose first appointee to the Department of the Interior said trees create more pollution than cars. Reagan was willing to sign on to a global ozone pact, but his environmental agenda was to undermine the environmental agenda, which was symbolized by his removing Carter’s solar panels from the roof of the White House.

Reagan’s “anti-clean-energy, anti-conservation legacy” defined the modern GOP. But as awareness of the climate crisis grew, most mainstream Republicans never felt comfortable displaying absolute allegiance to big oil and other polluters. Newt Gingrich made an ad with Nancy Pelosi about the need to confront global warming. John McCain ran for the presidency supporting a “cap and trade” policy.

Barack Obama’s presidency began as conservatives finally felt a religious obligation to call for the drilling of anything that has a crevasse.

As the science behind climate change has become stronger and accepted by anyone who assesses threats for a living — including the military and the insurance industry – 74 percent of Republican senators and 53 percent of Republican members of the House of Representatives deny that the problem even exists. And with the rise of the Tea Party movement, which was largely funded by the Koch brothers – who seem to see clean energy as an existential risk to their carbon polluting empire — the “I’m not a scientist” era of the GOP began.

Faced with a party whose main argument would be that he wasn’t doing enough to create more carbon pollution, Obama’s environmental legacy began early with his first major piece of legislation: the stimulus.

“In 2008, people had the sense that renewable energy was a tiny industry in the United States,” Mike Grunwald — who wrote the book on the stimulus – told Grist. “What they forget is it was a tiny dead industry — because these wind and solar projects were essentially financed through tax credits, which required people with tax liability, and everybody had lost money, so nobody needed [the tax credits]. By changing those to a cash grant, it instantly unlocked this industry. Another thing that’s helped to create the wind and solar industry was advanced manufacturing tax credits, which were a gigantic deal.”

After eight years of an administration of oil men who consulted with other oil men to set energy policy, America finally was at least trying not to make climate change worse.

In Obama’s first term, new efficiency standards for automobiles promised radical reductions to carbon emissions, and mercury standards forced coal plants to modernize or close. In his second term, he forged a historic climate deal with China that subverted one of the most powerful arguments that conservatives make against reducing emissions, and he presented the fully realized plan to regulate carbon under the Clean Air Act. And solar panels are back on the White House.

While 2014 was the hottest year on record, it was also the first year in which the global economy grew without carbon emissions increasing in four decades.

Environmentalists including Naomi Klein argue that the president missed his chance for a radical response to climate change that matched the seriousness of the crisis. There is certainly more the president could do to fight back against the desire to pollute without consequences that threatens global stability.

But even these criticisms can’t undermine what’s been accomplished since 2009.

The pioneering conservationism of Teddy Roosevelt, the environmentalism embedded in the New Deal, Nixon’s pragmatism, and Carter’s evangelism for the planet all forged the foundation for green presidential leadership. But when it comes to advancing clean energy and fighting carbon pollution, no president has done more than Barack Obama.

In the calcified, uncompromising political environment Nixon helped spark, Obama offered a glimpse of how the presidency can be used to fight for climate sanity, even in the face of extremely well-funded and increasingly unreasonable opposition.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Tuesday March 31, 2015, 2:08 pm
Three Cheers For Barack!
Thanks Carrie.

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday April 1, 2015, 11:54 am
This is how green he is:
"The Obama administration reaffirmed a 2008 government auction of Arctic drilling rights on Tuesday, delivering a major victory to Shell Oil Co. as it aims to resume exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer."

Arild Gone for now (174)
Thursday April 2, 2015, 2:50 am

Lady Suki (446)
Thursday April 2, 2015, 6:33 am
Yeah... I was going to say what Angelika did.

I would probably give the Greenest title to Jimmy Carter or even Nixon. (Remember Nixon started the E.P.A. and Carter put solar panels on the White House. Reagan took them down.)

Arielle S (313)
Thursday April 2, 2015, 7:18 am
"President Obama could leave office with the most aggressive, far-reaching environmental legacy of any occupant of the White House. Yet it is very possible that not a single major environmental law will have passed during his two terms in Washington,” the New York Times reports.

“Instead, Mr. Obama has turned to the vast reach of the Clean Air Act of 1970, which some legal experts call the most powerful environmental law in the world. Faced with a Congress that has shut down his attempts to push through an environmental agenda, Mr. Obama is using the authority of the act passed at the birth of the environmental movement to issue a series of landmark regulations on air pollution, from soot to smog, to mercury and planet-warming carbon dioxide.”

He's doing what he can - difficult with the total buttholes in Congress determined to undermine him at every step.

. (0)
Thursday April 2, 2015, 1:53 pm
my buddy's mother makes $84 an hour on the laptop . She has been without a job for 7 months but last month her payment was $16407 just working on the laptop for a few hours. find more information-=-=-=-=-=-=

►►►►►►---- F­O­X­8­­­1­.­C­O­M

Past Member (0)
Thursday April 2, 2015, 6:10 pm
Obama is The Greenest president because after six years in the office he is as "green" and clueless academia guy, as when on the day he started.

Lucy S (46)
Thursday April 2, 2015, 7:09 pm
Hey Bob! I'm not surprised to see you posting negatives again. We are still awaiting your response--as to WHY you never have anything pleasant to type. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen!
Happy Easter! Thanks, Carrie, for the well written post.

Past Member (0)
Thursday April 2, 2015, 9:55 pm
Lucy, that is because there is almost NOTHING PLEASANT to type about Obama.

The only pleasant thing that I know is that he taught stalwart Democrat Jews to vote Republican at a rate of about 10% per term. Jewish support for Democrats went from 80% before Obama's first term to 70% before his second term and now it is what, 50% or less. I am surprised it is only 10% per term and not 25%, considering all things he did against Israel and against Netaniuahu.

So, that was something pleasant about Obama, Lucy, per your request.


Billie C (2)
Thursday April 2, 2015, 10:25 pm
obama is for obama. if he thinks it will get him in the history books he doesn't care what it does he just wants to be in those books. he will be the president that wiped out israel so he can say he signed a pact with iran.

Past Member (0)
Friday April 3, 2015, 6:30 am
The only way to get green is for YOU to stop overpopulating and over-consuming our natural resources.
If YOU don't buy it, THEY can't sell it.

Arielle S (313)
Friday April 3, 2015, 9:48 am
Ah, yes, Billie and Bob - how much better we should go to war with Iran in order to keep Israel happy....We can spend more money and kill off more people, thereby giving the 1% (and Israel) lots more money for those in charge and yet more poverty for those who are not.

Past Member (0)
Friday April 3, 2015, 10:35 am
Arielle, nobody asks US to go to war.

Just allow Israel to do what it can, and see how it works. Israel is always the one to do the dirty work. Remember, that it was Israel who stopped Iraq and Syria from going nuclear.

If Obama did not betray Israel and would not leaked its plans, may be there would be no issue with Iran now.

What will you say when crazy Iranian mullahs bomb an American city, because they can and want to? That you are sorry? That you were wrong?

What exactly tell the Democrats who were planning to stop North Korean nukes, and are now planning to stop Iran with those old tricks?

Obama is no match for Iranians, because they are much more clever, more experienced, do not betray their friends and respect themselves.

Past Member (0)
Friday April 3, 2015, 10:45 am
Why bring up Israel (one of the most highly advanced countries in environmental technologies, BTW) when the topic is obummer and the environment?

Lady Suki (446)
Friday April 3, 2015, 1:37 pm
*Checks* Nope. This is still Care2 and not Politico.

Just wow.
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